Yoga has the power to transform your mind as much as it does your body. However, you need to be open to it. If you don’t believe that yoga will be beneficial for you, then it probably won’t be. Here are a few examples of what yoga can do for your mental health.
1. Relieves Stress – Leading to Anxiety and Depression
Any experienced yogi or even anyone who has a slight knowledge of yoga, knows that one of the top benefits of practicing yoga is that it relieves stress. Between school, work, home responsibilities, relationships etc. that comes along with life, we need a way of releasing the stress that builds up. Something that is repeated frequently is to focus on your breathing. This is what slows down the brain and helps relieve the tension that causes stress. This naturally decreases the chance of suffering from anxiety and depression.
2. Improves Memory
Since yoga improves blood flow to the brain, it is often perceived as a brain boosting workout, which does include specific “brain boosting” poses. By practicing this exercise, it stimulates the brain, increases your brain activity, which evidently improves your memory.
3. Positively Impacts Your Outlook on Life
Life throws a lot our way and sometimes you may feel like you’re stuck in a fog. Luckily, there are ways to help you stay positive and see the good in the bad times. Yoga is one of them because it increases your serotonin levels. “Serotonin is the molecule of will power, of delaying gratification. Decreased serotonin activity can lead to an inability to create and act on well-formed plans.” Meaning that you may feel very down and negative (among other factors) if your levels are low.
Since I have started practicing yoga, I have found myself noticing the good rather than the bad. I have felt happier, more energetic, and more positive about life. Yoga really does improve how you view your life.
4. Provides an Inner Calmness
When first starting yoga, you may feel frustration with not being able to do certain poses or hold them for long. But, if you are determined and stick with it, you will get better which will then allow you to bring your focus in and feel the inner calmness that is often attributed to yoga. It’s a good idea to start out with an instructor that is leading the practice. They help you stay in the moment and be kind do yourself by not putting yourself down or trying to push your body too far.
5. Sharpens Concentration and Attention Span
A big portion of yoga is concentrating. It’s extremely difficult to stand on one leg with your other leg pulled up to your thigh and your hands in the air or together at your chest (tree pose) and be looking around or talking to people at the same time. You will almost definitely fall out of it. Keeping your balance in a pose comes from strong concentration. By practicing this in yoga, it will improve your concentration and attention span off the mat as well.